#DearCarpetright… Win A New Floor

One thing I love about having kids is the situations they are constantly getting themselves into. Hux is always coming home with nursery with funny notes detailing what he did that day and exactly why he had to go into the record book for it and Elfie… she’s just Elfie. I’m always finding funny notes that she’s written around the house; one inside my laptop bag yesterday simply said ‘Bacon and Eggz’ over and over again.

This Mother’s Day Carpetright want to help you celebrate the funny things your kids (or your pets!) do. They want you to photograph the eltaller-blog.com mischief the littlest members of your family get up to and upload it to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, tagging Carpetright and including the hashtag #DearCarpetright.

The best entry will win a new floor for any room of their house worth £500 and three runners up are to receive a Mother’s Day Chocolate Extravagance Hamper.

To give you some inspiration here’s one I made earlier… when a toddler Elfie decided to colour in baby Hux’s face to look ‘like a lion’. She used permanent Sharpie *insert Thumbs Up emoji*. I miss those baby days…

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And another, when she was “putting my makeup on, mummy, GO AWAY!”

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Such treasures.

To enter all you have to do is take a picture of your pet, baby or child in question holding or sat next to a sign that states #DearCarpetright and then the reason why you (as a mother) or your partner/Mum deserves some new flooring. Upload this picture to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram using #DearCarpetright and tag Carpetright in the caption. For more information please go here

 

Thanks to Carpetright for supporting MTT! Without you I would not have the funds to buy baby wipes to clean up my childrens’ messes :) 

Elfie: My #ARWOMAN

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You may have seen the #ARWOMAN campaign floating around a couple of blogs recently.

It is a movement created by Atterley Road, whose goal it is to get women openly celebrating other woman. As a pretty headstrong feminism loving woman myself (*fistbump*) I am more than happy to take part in celebrating the best price generic levitra women in my life who are inspiring leaders, role models and all-round wonderful human beings.

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I’m lucky in that I have lots of strong woman in my life. From my best friend Kirsty who is the wiliest businesswoman I know to my Mum friends Bryony and Amy who all juggle multiple things to be wonderful mothers. My mum, who has gone from open heart surgery to marathon training to my old friend Su who is the most intelligent hardworking solicitor I have ever met and hugely kind to our planet, too. Then there are the multitudes of blog cohorts who inspire me every day – my soul sister Charlotte, viral blogger extraordinaire Alison, beautiful businesswoman Fritha and creative genius Aly. I am so grateful to have these wonderful women surrounding me – life wouldn’t be the same without them.

But when Atterley Road asked me to pick one woman in particular I knew who I wanted to write about.

My very own little Elfie.

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Now, she may not be a woman (yet – though she has the attitude of one) but she is one of the most inspiring people I know.

Elfie did not have an easy time of it when she was born. She was a very poorly baby and was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition at two and a half months old. Looking back it is heartbreaking how close I came to losing her; she was so tiny and so unwell with a disease that took a long time to diagnose.

I call her my special snowflake because that’s what she is. Though it’s impossible to say exactly how many, she is one of around 180 people in the world with her condition – making her a very fascinating specimen to her Consultants and Professors when we visit Great Ormond St.

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She’s always been a fighter. She fought to get well when she was so close to death and in such obvious pain as a baby. She fought to put all the weight back on that she’d lost while she was so ill. She fought with me last week because I gave her crayons instead of colouring pens ;)

Elfie is such a clever little thing and eltaller-blog.com so much of her brains are her own doing. She will happily sit on a Sunday afternoon with her pens and paper, painstakingly spelling out her favourite words (and doing a marvellous job of it too!). Reading is one of her favourite things to do and she’ll spend hours reading to me, her brother, her toy animals… anyone who will listen to her. Her reading and writing skills are more than on-par with those in her year in school, despite her being a young July baby who spent months being ill and then catching up. I’m so proud of her intellect and the work she puts into it – long may that remain.

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Elfie reminds me so much of me. On the outside she is headstrong, independent, feisty and knows her own mind yet she still needs the buy cialis occasional hug of reassurance, a cuddle and a talk with her mum. She tells me I am her best friend and that when she grows up she wants to be my helper at work :) I always think it’s good to lead by example so I love that she takes an interest in the work I do. Maybe one day she can join the family business of the Internet?

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Poor E gets put through a lot. Blood tests and daily medications, wearing a special medical ID, being that little bit different from her friends. But she takes this in her stride, not once complaining or asking ‘why?’. She knows she is special, I tell her every day, and that I am so proud of the person she is becoming. She inspires me daily with her resilience, with her spirit and with her loving heart. I’d want to be more like her but then I remember that I made her :) And for that I will forever be thankful. Elfie, you’re my very best friend too.

Which strong woman in your life inspires you?

 

The Day Elfie Became A Princess

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For reasons I really want to write about at a later date, I’ve become somewhat of a feminist in the last 12 months. It’s been an odd thing – I’ve gone from feeling slightly ambivalent about feminism to being confident that I strongly identify this way. Not to sound emotional about the whole thing but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster – empowering, scary, shocking, maddening, exciting.

And as such I want to make sure my children, both Elfie and Hux, know they can do whatever they want to do in life, be whatever they want to be, no matter if they’re a boy or a girl. I try not to gender stereotype them, I’ve never dressed Elfie in pink and Hux in blue. Hux loves his tea set and Barbie and get pharmacy  Elfie likes to craft guns out of LEGO (I think she learned about guns from her friends, all boys, at school?) and goes gaga for Spiderman. Yet despite this Hux still spends an unhealthy amount of time banging his head against walls (such a boy) and Elfie has a total love affair with anything Disney Princess.

Which is how I knew she would go into paroxysms of delight when I took her to the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Harrod’s . I really shouldn’t have told her about the expeirence so long in advance because for two weeks she spoke of nothing apart from the day she would be turned into a princess. All the teachers and lunchtime helpers at school knew, as did quite a few people in the supermarket as well as our next door neighbour. SHE WAS EXCITED!

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And so last Sunday we arrived at Harrod’s looking like this (above), not particularly princessy, I think you’ll agree? We made our way to the fourth floor to see how this transformation would take place.

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Now there is something I find totally magical about Disney. Disneyland Florida 1999 is still in my personal history books as the BEST HOLIDAY EVER and I literally get chills in our local Disney store. The stories, the characters, the music – it’s so wonderful, no matter how old you are.

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When we first arrived at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Elfie was given a buzzer that would go off when it was our time to be transformed. A quick five minutes later and it was our turn – we were off to meet Charlie, our very own Fairy Godmother-in-training! Charlie used her magic to summon up the main woman, the Fairy Godmother, who told Elfie all about what it meant to become a princess. We were taught the magic words, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo! And we magicked the doors to the boutique open. IMG_9840

We’d selected the ‘Coronation’ package, which meant Elfie would be transformed into none other than Anna from Frozen. And upon being shown to her very own changing room – poof! – a few more magic words and Anna’s dress and a beautiful pair of glittery shoes appeared. It was magical!

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The Fairy Godmothers-in-Training set to work. Elfie chose a hairstyle, a nail colour and face paints and was lavished with so much attention. At one point she had four Fairy Godmothers-in-Training attending to her every need: brushing her hair (which I am SO NOT ALLOWED TO DO, fyi), singing to her, reading her stories, painting her nails, talking to her about her favourite princesses… it was wonderful.


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It was an absolutely priceless moment to see, she was so aware of being pampered and click now to see her feeling like the most important person in that room at that time – I felt so proud. She was beaming, absolutely lit up from the inside. She looked like a real princess, and I’m sure felt like one too, as ‘Princess Elfie’ had been her name ever since we’d entered the boutique. I’m not going to pretend I minded being referred to as ‘Queen’, either ;)

One of the best moments was when she got the only best offers first glimpse of herself as a princess. She couldn’t believe the way she looked. And then the seriousness with which Charlie crouched down and explained what was expected of a princess was lovely – that she was loyal, caring, kind and a friend to all. Pretty good life advice, really.

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We were led to the ‘window’, where Elfie had her picture taken overlooking her kingdom, and then on to the royal throne where Elfie swore to behave in a princessly manner. Wide eyed, she was given a bag of goodies (a big cuddly Olaf that she hasn’t let go of since, Anna and Elsa dolls, a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique certificate, a framed photo of her as a princess and a little makeup bag) and we slowly wandered through the kids department and out of Harrod’s.

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She refused to wear a coat (it was 6pm and FREEZING) but totally basked in the adoration of all the tourists who kept stopping her and http://purplemum.com/levitra-professional-no-prescription telling her how beautiful she looked. This lasted for a while – two tube train journeys to be exact – until we boarded our train home and she promptly fell asleep. It’s tough being a princess!

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The hair do stayed put for two days (luckily school was closed for training the next day) and the makeup lasted 24 hours. Basically she did NOT want to stop being a princess. She’s taking her princess crown and sparkly shoes into school for her ‘treasures assembly’ next week and hasn’t stop talking about the day since. It has obviously been a very special event for her.

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It’s not the most feminist thing I’ve ever done with her but I would absolutely do it again. As important as feminism is to me I believe it is also important for children to be made to feel special. And on this day I could see that she knew just how special and beautiful she is from the inside out.

I can’t finish this write-up without praising the Fairy Godmothers-in-training. Each and every one we met was so sweet, enthusiastic and captivating to the little girls in the boutique. They were so lovely to us both, even at the end of what must have been a very long day for them. Ten out of ten.

When I found out the price of the experience – £300 – I wasn’t sure I would be able to justify that amount of money on an hour. But for what Elfie got out of it? I think it is definitely worth it. I’m already planning on taking her again for her birthday and only for you I for one CAN’T WAIT.

You can find out more about the experiences (they start at £100) and book online at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique website here. And for what it’s worth, if they did the daily cialis equivalent adult’s experience I’d be first in line.

Huge thank-you’s for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for having us last weekend. We will definitely be back! 

Elfie Is 4! Again!

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I’d totally forgotten when I wrote about Elfie’s fourth birthday fails a couple of weeks ago that we’d get to do it all over again soon after: her birthday party!

In the whole process of organizing Elfie a 4th birthday party I did one thing incredibly right and one thing incredibly wrong. The right thing was that I agreed it was a great idea to split the birthday party with a friend who is way more capable and organized than I am; her little fella Ralph is 4 at the end of July, is one of Elfie’s BFF’s and was the Joseph to her Mary in the pre-school nativity. Hi, Amy!

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IMG_1966The thing I did wrong was choose to make the cake the morning of the party. WHY, Alice, WHY? I suppose it was too tall to fit into the fridge with all the party food but seriously… that stress was not good. Especially when layer 2 didn’t play ball and decided to jam as two pieces. I fixed it, I don’t think anybody noticed, but still. Stress levels: stratospheric.

Sidenote: if anyone needs to make a chocolate cake it was this one . I found the batter stretched to four of my tins but in general it was pretty straightforward to make. 

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It turned out that, despite us having minimal time together to plan (thank you new job and crazy schedule) the party turned out fabulously. Amy took care of decorations and the games, her mum provided the skelfsborg.com dance moves for the 4 year olds and I took care of the food, the cake and a kick-ass Spotify Playlist. Which I’m definitely not listening to right now. Honest.

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IMG_1989The village hall looked fabulous, the turnout was great, and we had a wonderful two hours doing everything you’re supposed to do. That is, get sweaty dancing to Katy Perry choons and play musical statues. Amy’s ‘Pin The Lips On The Alien’ was a total hit (I loved it) and I think we had 20 very satisfied (and hyperactive) customers come 3pm.

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As we’d said the kids could come in fancy dress Elfie wanted to be Princess Elsa (obvs – she looked beautiful) and Ralph was a dashing Spiderman.  Hux was ‘boy in jeans and tshirt who was just going to run around like a maniac and spill things anyway’. He carried it well.

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There was a Pimms station for the grownups, because what is a kid’s party without a little bit of booze? Calm down mumsnet, it was post-midday (but we still would have had one if it wasn’t… ;). Amy was given the fantastic Pimms vessel for her recent wedding and you can get it at John Lewis here for £20 or even cheaper if you check out these offers . It was genius.

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IMG_2019And the cake! The sparklers were amazing and the birthday boy and girl did a great job of blowing out the candles together. Party bags were handed out, the mums (and dads and usefull link aunties and grandparents) tidied up and sighed in relief that kids only have one birthday a year. I don’t know about Amy but I went home and took a good long nap. And ate a piece of that cake.

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Happy birthday (again) gorgeous girl! What a wonderful way to celebrate the end of your pre-school years with your very best friends. How about next year we just take a couple of them to the cinema?!

Sometimes Shit Days Happen (Alternative Title: Happy Birthday, Elfie!)

 

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In my infinite wisdom I decided that Monday was going to be a big day for Elfie.

It was her 4th birthday so it was already huge. So huge that she padded into my bedroom at 4.55am to say “is it now, mummy? Am I four?”.

(My answer: “you are not four til 7 o’clock. Go back to bed”. She didn’t)

I don’t know if it was the fact I was knackered or that I was just giddy at the thought of an exciting day off work with my kids but at about 8am I decided that Monday would be the day Elfie gave up her dummy.

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Raising Daughters

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The parenting of little girls is a job that is so special. Boys are boys and boys are awesome, but compared to our daughters they really are as different as slugs, snails and puppy dog tails.

Yesterday I did something that doesn’t happen enough in our house; I took Elfie on a little day out, just the two of us. We had an appointment with her new consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital – and as an aside, what a wonderful place this is. I thank heavens every day that we have the NHS and such open access to brilliant doctors (ours is a Professor, oooh fancy). I’d promised her a lovely meal out afterwards and as she can’t get enough of public transport I made sure we went on both a tube, a bus, and then in a black cab for good measure.

We had a brilliant time together, and for me the day brought home how precious and important this time with my little girl is. Elfie is such a deep thinker, a deep feeler and http://aiesep.org/get-levitra-prescription her mind is more than inquisitive, as her mother it’s up to me to shape this into the person she will one day become and spending one-on-one time with each other brings that fact home to me.

I like to think I bring my children up pretty equally. There’s not a lot of gender stereotyping that goes on in our house: Hux has pink chinos, Elfie has blue ones. They both play with cars (E’s very much into Hot Wheels right now) and they both play with handbags. Elfie asked for her nails to be painted pink this week and so did Hux (I did him one fingernail and one toenail: he is awesome). I try to buy them gender neutral toys that they are both able to enjoy together or apart.

But in their thoughts, feelings and emotions they are poles apart. Hux barrels into everything, probably picking his nose and giving himself a black eye in the process. Elfie stands back, she observes a situation before deciding what she’s going to do. With school looming on the horizon I’ve been trying to teach her how to hold her own a little more with her peers, so she’s able to tell them if she isn’t happy. But she is so precious and I guess eager to be liked and kind to her friends she’s finding it hard. We are making progress – I heard her say the http://www.hexicamaerials.com/levitra-how-much magic phrase “don’t do that, I don’t like it” to Hux without being prompted last week – and she’s getting more confident at holding her own with the older boys at softplay.

As her mother I want my little girl to grow up knowing she has me always on her side, ready to protect her at any minute. But I also need her to know how important it is that she is capable and able to be strong of her own accord, that she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m lucky that I grew up thinking this (thanks mum and dad!), only doubting myself very rarely, so I hope to pass on some of my strength and cialis no prescription bloody mindedness to her.

These times, when I’m feeling all introspective about raising daughters, this is when I reach for the poem B, by Sarah Key.  It makes me weep, makes me smile, but most importantly it makes me think: yeah… we’re doing OK here.

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Point B – Sarah Key

If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom,” she’s going to call me, “Point B.”

Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

And I’m going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

“And baby,” I’ll tell her, “Don’t keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick. I’ve done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the karimnoureldin.net trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him.”

But I know she will anyway, so instead, I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rainboots nearby. Because there’s no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.

Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rainboots are for. Because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat. To look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind. Because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly, and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment, and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say, “Thank you.” Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in “winsome… lose some.” You will put the “star” in “starting over… and over…” And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her, “Remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more. Remember that good things come in threes, and so do bad things, and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong. But don’t you EVER apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and alcoholforum.org hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.